CHAPMANVILLE - At the regular session of the Chapmanville Town Council Tuesday evening, candidate for mayor Estel Murray filed a petition to the members of the council to redraw the ballot positioning, claiming that the instructions set by the county clerk's office were not followed.
Murray said that when the positions were drawn on April 2, only one person participated in the drawing, despite instructions stating that two people are supposed to - one holding the box above eye level and the other drawing. He said he contacted Logan County Clerk John Turner and Secretary of State Mac Warner, the latter who advised him to make the petition.
Rob Kuenzel, the town council's attorney, responded to Murray's petition, saying that Murray "just read the heading" of the state code. Kuenzel said the lawyer in charge of elections for the SOS said candidates are entitled to only two things during a municipal election: a drawing by lot, meaning some kind of drawing procedure must be done; and the candidate or a representative of the candidate be present for the drawing - with the ability of a candidate or representative to do the drawing.
"I'm not here tonight to hear an explanation of the law from the town lawyer," Murray said. "I'm here tonight to petition the council I'm asking for a redraw. However they vote, I'll accept."
Councilwoman Robin Adams Mutters then interjected, asking Murray, "If you thought it was wrong at that time, why did you not speak up at that time and bring it to their attention that you thought it was being done the wrong way?"
Murray responded that he was "like a deer in headlights" and didn't discuss the matter until he called County Clerk John Turner after he got home later that day. He said Turner told him he should have said something as well.
Town recorder Terilyn Wilson then pressed further, asking if he remembered her being there and asking if any of the candidates had any question about or issue with the process.
"I really don't remember that," Murray said.
"I remember very well," Wilson responded.
Wilson then asked two of the ballot commissioners who were present at the meeting if they noticed anything that was done wrong. Both said no. Murray then claimed that he saw the person who did the drawing reach into the box, stir the numbered balls up and look down in the box. All the others said that they saw no such thing happen.
Councilman James Robison made a motion to keep the ballot as it is. The other members unanimously approved that motion.
Murray is running for mayor against Dean "Doc" Williams, Tommy Kirk, Elbert Vance, Roger Meade and incumbent Raamie Barker. The election is set for Tuesday, June 11.
Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196 or follow him on Twitter @DVidovichLB.